Hawaii Signs Another Union Contract, But At What Cost?

Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat

The state inked another union contract Monday, the latest deal to come down before the legislative session comes to a close this week.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and county mayors signed a four-year agreement with United Public Workers Unit 1, which represents some 8,000 blue-collar employees.

The deal includes consecutive 2 percent pay raises starting Oct. 1 and thereafter every April 1 and Oct. 1 for the duration of the contract. It also boosts health benefits, shifting the employer share to 60 percent from 50 percent.

The state is backing away from its hardened stance with unions after four years of furloughs, higher medical premiums and pay cuts during the recession. But the high cost of changing this course means a lack of money to put toward new initiatives.

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